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Frequently Asked QuestionsAbout Doulas

What Is A Doula?
According to DONA International, the word "doula" comes from the Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or someone who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period or after birth. In some cultures people associate doulas strictly with home births and midwives. That may have been true for the past, but society is now finding doula's presence invaluable in hospital settings as well. Assisting with medicated, unmedicated or even c-section births.

Studies have shown that when a doula attends a birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed better.

A Birth Doula:
  • Recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life.
  • Understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labor.
  • Assists the woman in preparing for and carrying out her plans for birth.
  • Supports a woman throughout her labor.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures as well as helping the mother get the information she needs to make informed decisions.
  • Perceives her role as nurturing and protecting the woman's memory of the birth experience.
  • Allows the woman's partner to participate at his/her own comfort level.
  • Facilitates communication between the laboring woman, her partner and her provider.

Why hire a doula?
A doula is an advocate for you. She do not represent a provider or a hospital, she represents only you! She provides emotional support, physical comfort measures and an objective viewpoint, as well as helping the woman get the information she needs to make informed decisions.

Does a doula replace my husband or family member?
Some women may wonder if a doula will replace their partner.
Confidently, we say no!
While a doula is there to support the laboring women, she is also there to aid in supporting the needs of the birth partner in his or her experience as well. A doula can give your partner needed breaks as required. A doula can assist your partner in helping you. A doula can free up the partner to be with the women when there are other things to do, such as communicating with the hospital, drawing a bath, and preparing food or keeping mom hydrated etc. or conversely, your doula can tend to you if your partner would rather do those things. Commonly a doula and partner will work together to manage labor pain, breathing with you and more effectively meet your needs.

What Impact Can a Doula Make?
The following are some proven statistics of how a doulas attendance can influence a birth.
  • A 50% decrease in cesarean sections
  • A 25% decrease in the length of labor
  • A 30% decrease in use of oxytocin
  • A 60% decrease in use of epidurals
  • A 30% decrease in use of pain medications (narcotics)
Other Long term benefits include:
  • Improved Breastfeeding
  • Decreased Postpartum Depression
  • Greater Maternal Satisfaction
  • Better Mother-Infant Interaction
Does a Doula make decisions for me?
No. A doula can help you make informed, educated decisions. She can provide an unbiased point of view, explain the benefits and risks, and give you the information you need to make the best decision for your family.

What Is The Difference Between A Doula, a Midwife and an OB-GYN?
A Doula: will not perform any medical task on the mother or baby. She is there to help support the mother emotionally and physically with her knowledge, physical touch, and experience. Doula's certify through educating themselves through experience, extensive reading, and attending classes. A doula will attend your birth and be with you the duration of your labor.

A Midwife: is a professional in midwifery, specializing in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, women's sexual and reproductive health and newborn care. Years of schooling and hands-on experience is required. Typically a midwife will be the attending professional for a home birth, but it is increasingly more popular to find midwives in a hospital or birth center settings nowadays. The midwife usually will come and go with you during labor.

An OB-GYN: is the only one who surgically remove your baby. OB is short for an obstetrician, a physician who delivers babies. GYN is short for gynecologist, a physician who specializes in the treating of diseases of the female reproductive organs. Years of schooling is required. An OB-GYN  typically, will be there at the crowning of your baby's head or delivery of your baby. 
**Interesting fact about OB-GYNs is that they are not taught the physiological side of birth.